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New York Jets Offensive Line Stats - Preseason Week 1

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Michael Nania begins his offensive line stat tracking series

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, I kicked off a weekly series centered around tracking the numbers in coverage allowed by each Jets defender, a sequel to the series I ran throughout the offseason based on the same idea.

So, today I’ll be kicking off yet another weekly 2018 series, tracking the offensive line. Throughout the offseason, I went back and tallied sacks allowed by each Jet in 2017, but did not focus on penalties or the run game. With this year’s weekly series, I’m going to look to track down the best and worst plays compiled by each blocker in both the run and pass game, in addition to penalties.

As I always say, it is impossible to capture everything with the stats, but with this series I hope to capture the most impactful plays accumulated by each linemen, both positive and negative, to help better our perspective on their production. Every single snap does matter, and here we will only be grading a small portion of those snaps, but this data can still help shape our opinions on players more properly and truly.

To kick things off, I tracked:

  • Stuffs (runs for 2 yards or less and no first down) allowed in the run game
  • Rushing first downs assisted
  • “Setup runs” assisted (which I defined as a 6+ yard pickup on 1st/2nd down that did not result in a first down). Despite not resulting in a first down, these kinds of pickups are still positive plays that deserve to be tracked.
  • Sacks allowed
  • QB hits allowed
  • QB pressures allowed (which I defined as instances where the QB was forced to throw an uncatchable incompletion)
  • Penalties (Total accepted, yards, first downs wiped out, and declined)

Here are the numbers for the Jets in Week 1. Not all linemen who appeared in the game are on the list - only those who tallied one of the plays above.

Obviously when the regular season rolls around, the list of players will (hopefully) not be as long! It’s the preseason, and there was some rotation going on between each drive. As you can see, multiple players even played more than one position.

Some notes from me on this week’s performance:

  • The first team offensive line was very sound in its limited time. As you can see, no starter allowed a stuff, hit, or sack in their short appearances on the field.
  • Brent Qvale was not good. He allowed a team-high 3 stuffs. He seems to be one of the team favorites to stick around as depth, but this was not a good start for him.
  • The same goes for Ben Ijalana, a strange favorite of management. He did not assist on any rushing first downs while allowing a stuff, a hit, and taking one false start penalty.
  • Ben Braden stuck out with a few impressive run blocks rotating between right guard and right tackle. He’s got the size and athleticism to potentially thrive in this scheme as a tackle. Took a nice step towards making the team.
  • The interior depth looked far more impressive than the outside depth. I already mentioned Braden, but Jonotthan Harrison also had some nice blocks at center. Travis Swanson made a few mistakes but also flashed some nice reps. Dakota Dozier and Antonio Garcia also seemed to struggle at right and left tackle, respectively.
  • Things could have stood out as uglier overall for the reserve line had the Jets dialed up more downfield plays. Sam Darnold did a nice job protecting himself and getting the ball out.

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Here are a couple of nice plays I noticed from the first team.

The new man in the middle, Spencer Long, was the only starter to appear on the list above with this nice run block. Impressive balance sliding laterally off the snap and driving the tackle into the ground to facilitate this first down pickup for Bilal Powell.

Brandon Shell slowly improved in pass protection throughout 2017, but continuously struggled to make an impact in the run game. The Jets only ran to his side once against the Falcons, but he showed a promising flash on that snap. He showcases impressive athleticism off the snap here and beats the linebacker to the spot, driving him into the ground five yards down the field.

What your thoughts on the offensive line during the first week of preseason? In addition, what are your thoughts on this first edition of the offensive line tracking series? Is there anything else you would potentially like to see tracked? Let me know!